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Farriers, Veterinarians Inducted To Halls of Fame

These horseshoers and vets have pushed equine care forward and their influence continues to spread throughout the horse world

The International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame and the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame saluted six new members during induction ceremonies at the recent 2007 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The farriers inducted include:

-Walt Koepisch Jr., Benton, Pa.

-Joe Kutz, St. Louis, Mo.

-Gary Wade, Orlando, Fla., who was honored posthumously.

The newly inducted equine veterinarians are:

-Dallas Goble of Strawberry Plains, Tenn., former director of equine clinics at the University of Tennessee

-Scott Morrison, Lexington, Ky.

-Frank Nickels of East Lansing, Mich., Michigan State University

• Walt Koepisch made his mark as the farrier to the stars during the 1950s as the official horseshoer at Madison Square Garden. In the late ’60s, he was an early adopter of aluminum horseshoes, and he opened the New Jersey-based Dutchtown Forge Ltd. in 1972. He developed shoes for hunter/jumpers, endurance horses, reining and cutting horses and racehorses. He went on to design and manufacture shoes specifically for horses with low heels, sore feet and navicular problems.

He has produced a brochure offering shoeing tips on “working faster and smarter,” and has been a regular contributor to horseshoeing publications. He authored a popular series titled “The Right Shoe” for American Farriers Journal, which covered when and how to use various types of horseshoes.

Today, Koepisch is a highly regarded clinician conducting in-depth seminars on working with aluminum, and he continues designing horseshoes.

• Joe Kutz began his horseshoeing career in 1943. He quickly demonstrated talent for the work, crafting a variety of specialized grips to accommodate horses competing in different environments and on “less than perfect” terrain.

After World War II, he landed the coveted position of farrier at the St. Louis Zoo. He also continued his work with show horses, drayage horses, carriage horses and pleasure horses, but he found time to work with nearly every up-and-coming novice shoer in the St. Louis area. He's also a founding member of the Gateway Farriers Association and an early member of the American Farrier's Association.

Kutz has given countless clinics and talks at horse clubs, the St. Louis Carriage Association, school groups and farrier organizations. Until retiring two years ago, Kutz was still working with the Ringling Brothers Circus. At age 77, Kurtz says he still trims a couple of horses regularly to help him feel young.

• Gary Wade was the official blacksmith at Walt Disney World for more than 33 years and played a pivotal role in the formation and maintenance of the various animal programs throughout the park. His ability to shoe a wide range of horses helped Disney open several new equine entertainment productions, including an assortment of parades and touring hitches.

The innovative Wade was instrumental in designing and crafting specialized rubber shoes to ensure the horses' safety as they performed in different venues. The Disney shoes he developed in the early 1970s are still used today. He also offered daily demonstrations to the public while carrying out his duties at the park. He was honored posthumously following his death in an automobile accident in 2005.

• Dallas Goble has 35 years of veterinary experience to his credit, including 27 as the director of equine clinics at the University of Tennessee. He has earned a reputation as one of the leading international authorities on medical and surgical matters related to the draft horse, as well as laminitis medication and treatment, Cushing's disease, arthritis and tendon injuries.

He was born and raised on a horse and cattle ranch in Oklahoma and started riding at age 2. After a 13-year rodeo stint, Goble turned his sights toward academia, graduating as a doctor of veterinary medicine in 1969 from Kansas State University. He practiced in Oklahoma City until 1972, when he became an instructor of equine medicine and surgery at Michigan State University. In 1976, Goble joined the staff at the University of Tennessee, where he remained until his retirement in 2004.

He has presented more than 200 continuing education programs to veterinarians and horse owners, has co-authored a text book, Large Animal Anesthesia. His proposal to Budweiser in 1981 initiated the company’s National Herd Health Program, a total health program from conception to retirement for the Budweiser Clydesdales.

Goble remains active with the Budweiser Clydesdale Health Program and continuing education programs, and he continues to consult on a variety of equine lameness issues.

• Scott Morrison grew up riding hunters and jumpers on Long Island, paying his way by mucking stalls while learning how to shoe horses. Following high school, he attended Danny Ward's Eastern School of Farriery and built a successful farrier business. After three years, he enrolled at Virginia Tech and continued horseshoeing to make ends meet during his years as an undergraduate and a veterinary student.

After graduating in 1999, he was hired as an intern by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. Morrison grabbed an unused outbuilding and formed a partnership with Manfred Ecker, a master craftsman who came on board to forge a variety of shoes to specification. As they successfully took on tough cases, word got out and their caseload grew. Now, 8 years later, the 35-year-old Morrison is a partner at Rood and Riddle, which has a 1,500-square-foot podiatry center staffed full time by five veterinarians, five farriers, two veterinary technicians and one secretary, as well as two additional employees who work with Ecker, making shoes around the clock.

His schedule includes travel throughout the United States and Europe to consult and lecture.

• Frank Nickels serves as a senior on-staff surgeon in the large animal clinic at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has had a profound influence on many of his former students who — like him — have gone on to earn top honors in the field.

After starting his education in a three-room schoolhouse in a small town in western Washington as a youth, Nickels graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1969 and stayed on at the Pullman school, first as an intern, then as an instructor and eventually an associate professor. He relocated to Michigan State University in 1981.

Nickels pioneered numerous procedures that are now considered standard. He was among the first veterinary practitioners to use arthroscopy. He joined with Jim Cloutier, Michigan State's resident farrier, and earned a reputation as one of the most respected surgeon/farrier teams in the country for treating chronic laminitis cases.

Nickels mentored many now-eminent veterinarians, including James K. Belknap, Andrew Parks and Olin Balch. ( Parks and Balch are also in the Hall of Fame.) When not in surgery himself, Nickels is often busy consulting on cases nationwide.

American Farriers Journal sponsors the International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame and co-sponsors the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame with the Kentucky Derby Museum. Inductions are held each year at the International Hoof-Care Summit, which is also sponsored by the American Farriers Journal.

Nominations are now open for the 2008 class of inductees to both Halls Of Fame. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 31. Nomination letters should include the nominee’s name and current mailing address and phone number. In the case of a deceased nominee, provide the name, address and phone number of a close, living relative. Also provide reasons this farrier or equine veterinarian deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame, including background, accomplishments, practice, writings, significant awards, discoveries, etc. Finally, the name, address and phone number of the person nominating this farrier.

Nominations can be submitted online at http://www.americanfarriers.com or sent to American Farriers Journal at 225 Regency Court, Suite 200, Brookfield, WI 53045.

 

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